Anna & Heather very many years ago, at Flower's Barrow
Nursery Rhymes Kaleidoscope
(…a dream, a nightmare, an awakening…)
This composition began as choral work designed for the Occasional Singers to perform in the Burton Bradstock Festival which had childhood as its principal theme. The music soon became too big for this, and I also ran out of time. So later in the summer I revisited the raw material and designed a fantasy based on that phenomenal rich resource, the Nursery Rhyme. I've not bothered to count how many I've used, but it's a fair number! It was very relaxing to compose.
First the Hickory Dickory Mice emerge... ... the clock strikes! There's something wrong with the mechanism... ... it never seems to stop chiming! Then... ... a door slams! ... the mice become bolder... Three of the mice are blind... Some of them run up the clock! ... the clock strikes ONE! ... SCARY! They all run down... ... a door slams again!
Look out! It's the farmer's wife... ... with a carving knife! She'll catch them one day.
Hey diddle diddle… I can take cats playing fiddles, even cows jumping over the moon!... ... and laughing dogs! But a dish running away with a spoon? Well, I suppose we are in dreamland!
Uh oh! Those mice again... Clock striking again? ... must be something wrong with it. The farmer's wife is cross, and slams the door - again!
1,2,3,4,5 So - you caught a fish, yeah... and let it go? Why? oh why? oh why?
Is that a little nut tree, by the way? Poor you! I do hope your little finger gets better soon...
Ah! It is a nut tree! How quaint! What's the Spanish Princess's name?
Hey look! Isn't that Tom, the piper's son? What did he do? Cheeky fellow! - he'll not get away with that... What a laugh!.. but wait!.. He's been caught! Bet that hurt...
Ooh! I love lavender Its perfume helps the baby sleep Hush-a-bye, baby...
All the children are coming out to play. What shall they play? Ring-a-ring o' roses? Oh dear... they're starting to squabble now Children so often end up squabbling... It's those mice again...
This Old King Cole... ...he doesn't sound very merry! I do wish the kids would stop arguing! Where are those mice leading us now?
It's that Tom again! Mischievous fellow, but a wonderful musician... Top-knot? Top-knot? What on earth is that? Anyone fancy an orange? Or a lemon?
Ahhh! I love the sound of the bells But pity the poor bloke about to lose his head! Who? Who is it? Oh no! Poor Humpty Dumpty... Being fat isn't a crime!
Wow! Some cow! ...jumped over the moon... somehow! I'm so tired but these mice keep scampering about AH! I wish that door wouldn't keep slamming… Hush-a-bye, baby
Who on earth is this old woman? Tossed up? In a blanket? As high as the moon? Seventeen times higher?
Oh dear, oh dear!... all those mice!... I banish them... ... to Banbury Cross! What a talented, elegant and essentially finelady! Music wherever she goes!
Now who's this? I see the boat's come in. Shall I dance to my daddy? Just who is this? Sounds very grand... Wow! I know.... it's.... the Grand Old Duke of York! C'mon Bobby, keep dancing!
Oh dear, what's wrong Those mice look rather unwell! Poor, poor mice... This is all turning into a bit of a nightmare... I don't like this! I'm not feeling very well... I think I'll sit down for a few moments.
That wasn't so nice! Can I wake up now please!
What a horrid dream I had! It's getting light now... ...and the blackbirds are starting to sing! ...and those mice are looking fit and strong again! Can anyone tell me why there were all those blackbirds? ... and baked in a pie? I want to go out to play now... ... with all the girls and boys
I'm hungry! Time for a bowl of rice...
Now I'm going out to play... ... over the hills and far away! With my friend Tom.
Ah! Those lovely bells again... But though they sound sweet for us now... ... they didn't sound so sweet for the condemned. I do hope Humpty Dumpty gets better soon...
Hey! It's the cat! What a fiddler! Leave that cat alone! She'll drown in the well! How cruel! How sad!
Ruled by an ass and a dog! My poor brother Teague! Poor Jack! Poor Jill!
Where are the mice leading me now? See how they run! Running to hear the music... Follow the lady upon the white horse... Why is she such an irresistible force? Because she is magical music of course!
The Duke once more, brother Teague, marching up and marching down! And listen – there's Tom piping away... And has the boat come in yet? From the top of the hill can you see if the boat's come in? From the top of the hill, Tom, you can see through the mists of the morning dew... ... how sweet the winds do blow...
Such lovely music! Music rules at my home... ... home rule...
I can see the boat!
Bobby Shafto's back from the Orient! So dance! Dance! Dance for joy, little laddie! Bobby always has extraordinary tales to tell of faraway places...
Do the sailors dance jigs on board their big sailing boats? In foreign places, wild and exotic, they must dream of England!... ... of pretty English damsels... ... yellow cowslips... ... of daffodils, timid primroses, pale and trim, and pretty snowdrop bells... They must rue what they no longer have! ... the English summertime, the morning dew, the sweetest winds blowing... ... of lovers... ... loved and lost!
And those MICE are BACK AGAIN! Asking for trouble... and here comes the farmer's wife!!!
It's only the music that counts... ... and we shall have music wherev....................................er we goes!
So, goodbye all you mice... ... and I'll go back to my breakfast rice. With my Dad... mustn't eat too much... or POP! I love my old man.. he's funny! My! What can the matter be? Hooray! Those mice have gone at last!
The sun is hot and I'm going to cross the park to play see-saw... ... with my friends Jack.... ... and Jill ... ... and Margery Daw We might go to London town! Bye bye!